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(Mar 11, 2004) Today we drove to Picton to catch the ferry to Wellington on the north Island. We were early enough to take a short 2 hour hike out to Queensview Point in Picton. We turned in our current car and will pick up another car in Wellington. The car companies say that it is expensive to take a car on the ferry. The ferry ride was very comfortable. We had about eight seats for the three of us with a table in the middle. We had a great wind free view of the crossing. The trip across the Cook Straight took about 3 hours. Fortunately the water was very smooth. We heard it can get very rough. We spent the night at a great farm stay called Ration Point. We had a separate cottage with horses, sheep & chickens just outside our windows.

(Mar 12, 2004) Today we made the 300km drive up to Hastings. Our B & B here, Prime Fruit Orchard Cottage, is in the middle of a fruit orchard. Louise is staying in the main house and Bob and Janet are in a separate cottage. We are finding the drives in New Zealand take longer than you would think. A drive that would take 3 hours, in Colorado, takes 5 to 6 hours here. The roads are quite windy. They curve around every contour of the mountains & along the shore lines. You can have 3 curves in the space of .25 miles. Tomorrow we are planning a day bike ride through the wineries. Can’t drink too much. We will probably decide on 2 or 3 we would like to try. Should be a fun day, if it doesn’t rain. We had a pretty rainy day today, but we were driving, so it didn‘t matter. We have been extremely lucky, only 2 days of hard rain since we have been over here..

(Mar 13, 2004) Today we started out with a great breakfast including fruit from the orchard. We rented mountain bicycles from a bike rental called “On Yer Bike Winery Tours”. Their rental office was in their barn in the country. They provided the bikes, helmets, boxed lunches, water bottles, wicker baskets on the handle bars, route maps and a cell phone. In the afternoon they drove to the wineries to pick up the wines everyone purchased. For all this they only charged $40NZ per person. Their route included a short walk up a hill for a 360 degree view of the valley. We stopped at only three of the wineries so that we wouldn’t be weaving down the New Zealand roads. We finished the day with Indian food in Hastings. Janet’s poem for the day is below:

Today we toured the wineries
Out on a bike
Along the way we took
A short hike

We wanted a great view so
we climbed a few hills
But the bugs were out
And were quite the pills

No more of those horrible
Sand fly bites
we all itch to the left and
itch to the right

Our immune systems are
Putting up a fight
But the welts are itching
Most of the night

Louise is losing the battle And
is getting sick, sick, sick
She is hoping that the Zinc will
Do the trick

If the truth were
to be told
she has a sore throat
and a cold

Bob & Janet don’t want to
Be coughing on the plane
The other passengers will
Surely complain

(Mar 14, 2004) Today we visited the city of Napier. The city was destroyed in the early 1930’s by an earthquake and fires. It was rebuilt in a Art Deco style at that time. The buildings were fascinating. We took a guided tour which was well worth the $12NZ per person. We finished the day with meal at Indonesian Restaurant in Napier that was fantastic.

 
(Mar 15, 2004) We drove from Hastings to Rotorua with a short stop a Taupo. We stayed at the Moana Rose B & B which was part of Bruce and Pauline’s home right on the shore of Lake Rotorua. We spent the evening at a Maori Village south of Rotorua for a cultural presentation and dinner. 
  

(Mar 16, 2004) This morning we visited the geothermermal park in town. On the way to Auckland, we stopped at a park that had many birds including kiwis. It was amazing to see Kiwis up close. Don’t think you would ever see them in the wild as they are nocturnal and very shy.

(Mar 17, 2004) We now in Auckland staying with Louse’s friends Taryn and Steve Small. They have a lovely home a short distance from downtown Auckland. Today we took the ferry from downtown Auckland to Devonport. We managed a pretty walk to North Head before the rain started. We are starting to get our suitcases packed for our trip home tomorrow. Hopefully they will close with all the things we have purchased on the trip. Louise has left a trail of items across New Zealand. She had to call our B & B in Hastings to have them ship clothes back to Louisville. Watch out for Bob when he starts driving back in Colorado. He has been driving on the left side of the road for a month now.


Afternoon tea at Ration Point Country Cottage

Louise makes a friend at Ration Point Country Cottage

Sheep at Ration Point

Shetland Pony at Ration Point

Prime Fruit Orchard Cottage

Lunch at Ngatarawa Winery

Winery Bike Ride

Two fisted wine drinker

Indonesian Rijsttafel dinner in Napier

Restaurant Indonesia - Napier

Maori Statue

Maori Warior

Auckland Sky Tower at night from Taryn and Steve's house

Louise and Janet at NorthHead in Devonport. Auckland is in the background.